2nd Draf. Have at it!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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AbbeyRoadLaw
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:56 pm

2nd Draf. Have at it!

Postby AbbeyRoadLaw » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:02 pm

Made corrections to my first draft. This one is for W&M. Please leave some constructive criticism. Thanks, guys!

My life’s experiences have shaped me into a compassionate person who yearns to protect children by providing them with a legal voice to fight against those who wish to control them. Throughout elementary and middle school, I was bullied by three other boys in my grade. It began with teasing and name-calling, but soon escalated to more physical attacks, such as tripping me during recess and stealing my food at lunch. The harassment only worsened after we reached middle school. In addition to new, more profane, verbal attacks, they pushed me down the stairs, knocked the books out of my hands, and generally humiliated me in front of my classmates. By eighth grade, the harassment had taken a serious toll on me. My anxiety was so intense that I dreaded going to school and would even pretend to be sick in order avoid going. When I did go to school, it was difficult to concentrate in class, and my grades started to slip. In addition to a lowered appetite, I had very low self-esteem and feelings of self worth. Instead of spending my time worrying about girls and sports like an average middle-school boy, I battled depression and anxiety issues because of years of bullying. I felt so helpless and angry: both at these boys for what they were doing to me, and at myself for my inability to stand up to them.
That spring, I reached a breaking point. I finally found the courage to inform the principal what had been happening. The overwhelming wave of support that came to my aid was incredible and I will never forget it. The principals, school board, coaches, and my family all came to my side and finally, I no longer needed to fight alone. Serious measures were taken against the three perpetrators, and the bullying immediately stopped. I began to see as counselor on a weekly basis. One piece of advice she gave me left the largest impact. As summer approached, she suggested I try and find a job or volunteer to stay busy and keep improving. Fortunately, I was offered a position coaching at the swim team in town. Taking that job changed my life. Working with children helped give me everything I had been lacking , but could not find on my own: confidence, self-esteem, a sense of pride. Their unyielding positive attitude and enthusiasm was infectious, and I took tremendous pride in being a positive role model in their lives. I was a natural. I began high school that fall with a renewed positive sense of self that I had not had for years.
Nine years after starting my first coaching job, I am still working with children. In addition to coaching two swim teams, I now work as a full-time one-on-one aide for a mentally handicapped second grade boy. My job requires an incredible amount of both patience and empathy. You must be able to withstand a great number of frustrations and obstacles. One day, he might be attentive and listen well, and the next, he might tell me to leave him alone and refuse to do anything I ask. Each day is different and each day presents a new set of challenges. Still, even in the most frustrating of moments, I remain proud, knowing that my efforts are having a lasting impact on his life.
As I look back, I realize that the challenges I have faced are what have enabled me to find the strong footing I have today. Being bullied led to working with children. This in turn instilled in me a deep appreciation for the effect adults can have on children's lives. Today I am inspired to attend law school to help give children a voice in divorce, abuse, and child custody cases. I was extremely fortunate to be surrounded by supportive adults during those hard times in my life, and becoming a lawyer will allow me to be the voice for those children who may not have that support.
I believe William & Mary is the best place to attain my legal education. I am drawn to W&M Law’s small class sizes as well as the fact that first year students are not divided into sections, which seems favorable to building friendships and close ties with a larger number of the class. Additionally visited Williamsburg during my college search senior year of high school, and loved the peacefulness and colonial feel of the W&M campus as well as the very friendly, helpful people that I met there. I believe that I can help diversify W&M through my character and experiences. My work experience demonstrates that I am dedicated to helping others. My experience with bullying is not unique, but my transformation afterwards may be. I have been inspired to make a difference, and studying law at William & Mary gives me an opportunity to pursue a career that affords me the greatest meaning of impact and contribution.

csexton182
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:39 am

Re: 2nd Draf. Have at it!

Postby csexton182 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:24 pm

It's a bit choppy. However, it sends a good message. Does W&M have a family law program? If they do, perhaps adding that in there may help. Otherwise, It's a pretty solid message. Also, it is very relate-able . I think you have something going, just keep working on some minor details. Here's some constructive criticism to work with.


That spring, I reached a breaking point. I finally found the courage to inform the principal what had been happening.

CONSIDER: " The following Spring I had reached a breaking point, finally mustering up the courage to inform the principal of what had been happening."

KEEP THIS: "Their unyielding positive attitude and enthusiasm was infectious, and I took tremendous pride in being a positive role model in their lives."

" I now work as a full-time one-on-one aide for a mentally handicapped second grade boy"
CONSIDER: I am currently employed working as a full-time one-on-one assistant for a mentally handicapped second grade boy"

My experience with bullying is not unique, but my transformation afterwards may be.

CONSIDER: Although my experience with bullying is not unique, my transformation afterwards may be.

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AbbeyRoadLaw
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:56 pm

Re: 2nd Draf. Have at it!

Postby AbbeyRoadLaw » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:25 pm

csexton182 wrote:It's a bit choppy. However, it sends a good message. Does W&M have a family law program? If they do, perhaps adding that in there may help. Otherwise, It's a pretty solid message. Also, it is very relate-able . I think you have something going, just keep working on some minor details. Here's some constructive criticism to work with.


That spring, I reached a breaking point. I finally found the courage to inform the principal what had been happening.

CONSIDER: " The following Spring I had reached a breaking point, finally mustering up the courage to inform the principal of what had been happening."

KEEP THIS: "Their unyielding positive attitude and enthusiasm was infectious, and I took tremendous pride in being a positive role model in their lives."

" I now work as a full-time one-on-one aide for a mentally handicapped second grade boy"
CONSIDER: I am currently employed working as a full-time one-on-one assistant for a mentally handicapped second grade boy"

My experience with bullying is not unique, but my transformation afterwards may be.

CONSIDER: Although my experience with bullying is not unique, my transformation afterwards may be.


Thank you! This is a great help. Much appreciated

WhiskeynCoke
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:12 am

Re: 2nd Draf. Have at it!

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:35 pm

Heres my critique, sorry if it comes off as a bit harsh. However, I feel that harsh, honest, yet constructive criticism is much more helpful than sugarcoated nonsense.....

I like the theme but I think its a bit dramatic. You seem to feel a little too sorry for yourself. The PS is overly focused on the details of your bullying, when they don't seem to be that out of the ordinary. Lots of kids are bullied in just this way (I was). I don't mean to downplay your experiences, I'm just going off what you say here.

Here's how you should emphasize being bullied:
- Show how you've overcome it and become emotionally stronger as a person

Here's when you should go into lots of detail
- If it was based on race (unless you're white), LGBT status, a disability, socioeconomic status, or being overweight
- (there are other examples, you get the point)

You don't articulate WHY you were being bullied, so it trivializes the details of the bullying and the reader fails to connect with your plight, making you seem a bit whiny. If you don't give us the WHY you should skip the details. If the WHY is because you were "nerdy" or "shy" I would skip the details. A story about someone overcoming bullying due to their race or sexual orientation is much more moving and deserving of valuable space. A story about someone who is bullied because they refuse to stand up for themselves is much less moving and doesn't help your case, unless it is in the context of a drastic and impressive personal transformation.

I am aware that "bullying" is a hot topic in the media right now but you should keep in mind that the legal profession is one that values THICK SKIN and mental/emotional TOUGHNESS. If you are going to focus on being bullied you must HIGHLIGHT YOUR TRANSFORMATION and show how you've OVERCOME the bullying and become a STRONGER PERSON.

By overcome I don't mean you finally got up the nerve to taddle-tail. You should present evidence that suggests you're no longer the type of person who gets pushed around and you stand up for yourself and for others. In other words, sure tell us how you got the bullying to stop, but also tell us how you moved past it emotionally.

The worst thing you can do is come off as still bitter about this stuff, which you're definitely in danger of.

WhiskeynCoke
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:12 am

Re: 2nd Draf. Have at it!

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:24 pm

I just noticed something. You have a sentence in there that nearly word-for-word matches a sentence in the very first sample PS in the sticky at the top of this forum.

Yours:
As I look back, I realize that the challenges I have faced are what have enabled me to find the strong footing I have today.


Sample (last sentence, 2nd paragraph) viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4353

As I look back, I realize that the challenges I have faced have enabled me to find a strong footing within a situation that was not altogether stable.


It's way too close for comfort.... don't know if you read the sample or not but you should change that regardless.




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